Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why I Don't Spin

This was posted by someone on my Michigan knitting Yahoo Group. This is exactly what would happen if I took up spinning.


She learned to spin on Monday
Her yarn turned out just fine
She forgot to start our dinner
So we went out to dine..
She blended colors on Tuesday
Convinced drum carding is a must
I agree it seemed a most useful tool
But she forgot to dust..
On Wednesday she tried plying
The challenge was such fun
What symmetry, texture and beauty
But the laundry wasn't done.
Weaving took up Thursday
So lively in white and red
I guess she really was engrossed
Because she never made the bed...
She made fluffy lambs on Friday
With the wool that she adores
She never seemed to notice
Crumbs collecting on the floor..
I hired a maid on Saturday
The housework to complete
My wife can weave the hours away
Now the house will still be neat...
My expectations sank on Sunday
I guess I just can't win
When I saw the sink of dirty dishes
I realized the maid had learned to spin!
--Wini Labrecque

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hat Question and more

Has anyone out there in Blogland made a simple, rolled-brim hat? How long did it get before it stopped rolling? Here's mine:

It measures 2-7/8 inches with the roll, and 5-3/4 inches unrolled. So the rolling part is almost 3 inches long - almost half the length of the hat so far! Am I supposed to put a rib row or two in there to make it STOP ROLLING ALREADY? Because I would like to 1) start the decreases someday, and 2) avoid looking like I'm wearing a life ring on my head.

The yarn is Ironstone Colorchanges color #561, which Looking Glass Yarns calls "Jabberwocky."

Here are the Mumma Smittens:

I like them, but they are a little "floppy" feeling when worn. If I made them again, I think I would do a 2x2 rib cuff, and maybe only cast on 32 stitches instead of 36. That's surprising, because I only cast on 30 for my son's Smittens. You'd think I'd need a lot more for an adult pair (or maybe his are really floppy too).

Look what followed me home on Thursday:

It had been a rough week, and I needed a little yarn therapy. Plus a #6 circular needle for the hat. (Trying to knit an adult hat on 4 dpns? Not fun.) This is Arucania Nature Wool, worsted weight, color #28. (What is with the numbered colors?) I can't find #28 on their web site, but the color's pretty accurate in my photo (surprise). Sorry it's blurry (no suprise there), and please ignore the dust. (I do.)

As for the needle, I ended up getting my first Addi Turbo. You can see its pretty shiny tips in the hat photo above. I'm not exactly Lily Chin with it, but it is easier than shuffling rubber bands every time I start on a dpn, which is what I was doing before I got the Turbo.

And, hello? Why did I not post this funness sooner?

This is my amazing Hand Dyed Yarn Swap gift from Celena. I can tell she put a lot of thought into it and thought about my other interests like quilting and the Make-a-Bag site. Here's what she included, clockwise, from the upper right:

1. Nice Impressionist card - "Pond Lillies" by Allott Fuller Graves

2. Vertigo chocolate-caramel pop. Celena recommends letting it melt into a cup of coffee. It may not last that long.

3. THE YARN. My stupid flash makes it look more red, but it is a lovely deep purple-burgundy with indigo and navy blue. Can't wait to ball it up and try it out!

4. Pink Frosting body butter by Simple Pleasures. Alas, this is not edible.

5. Cute stitch markers that spell out YARN.

6. Thick stack of green quilting squares! All kinds of patterns; two of my favorite motifs are showing - leafs and stars.

7. Underneath it all is a green canvas tote, perfect for groceries or craft stash. Not sure of the dyeing method used on the tote (batik maybe?) but I love it.

Celena is planning another swap for January, so come join us!

Speaking of dyeing, the Winter Knitty is up and has another comprehensive article on dyeing with food colors. This is a really easy and inexpensive way to try dyeing your own yarn or fleece. Try it!

Kitteh Knits Too!

Apelad has done it again.

Out of lint, no less! Talented Kitteh!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ironstone Colorchanges: Yarn in Review

In brief - I love this yarn.

Vital stats:

53% wool, 47% acrylic

100 yards

50 grams

Recommended gauge is 10 st = 3" with a #11 needle. I've been knitting hats and mittens with it on size 6 dpns. It makes a nice dense fabric, but not too stiff. I haven't tried washing it, so who knows? Maybe it poofs way out once washed.

Handwash in cool water or dry clean.

I keep finding good things about it. Sorry I keep comparing it to Noro Kureyon. I love Noro, and this yarn looks a lot like it on the shelf.

1. It's not very expensive - about $6 (US) per ball.

2. It stripes like Noro Kureyon - the color changes may be slightly shorter than Noro, but it has the same gradual blend effect.

3. It is not (very) itchy.


5. Easy to hand-wind. For Knitters Without Winders, this is a great feature. The yarn comes as a loose ball, which is fine, but I was looking for the color repeat, so I have wound 4 balls of this by hand recently. It has not tangled. Not once. Awesome.

6. It is spun more consistently than Noro Kureyon - same springy single-strand worsted spin (someone correct me if I am not using the term worsted correctly in relation to how yarn is spun).

Anything I don't like?

1. It doesn't break because of the acrylic content. Slightly inconvenient, but I can live with it.

2. Either the color pattern doesn't repeat, or the repeat is over 300 yards long, because I wasn't able to find the repeat after hand-winding three balls of yarn. (I was trying to match the Mumma Smittens.)

Bottom line: Would I buy this again?

I would. Especially if I see it on sale! One ball is enough for a pair of kid mittens, two makes adult mittens.

Lamest KnitBlog Ever Award

Just kidding, but I sure feel like I deserve it. No FOto Friday last week, no FOto Friday this week. Ugh.

The only thing I've finished since the Smittens are the matching hat for the blue-grey pair, and two dyed skeins of sock yarn.

That was a moral dilemma. I dyed the two skeins in the same session, one for my swap partner and one for me. The colorway I designed for my sock partner turned out to be the one I liked best. The one I designed for me seemed boring by comparison. Just how bad did my swap partner hate yellow? And does she really like burgundy? Or would she think the yarn was really more of a red and hate it anyway?

I ended up sending the yarn I designed for her. I hope she loves it as much as I did.

I am working on a pair of mom-size Smittens for me, using Ironstone Colorchanges in color #561 (heh, that link refers to this color as "Jabberwocky." Sweet!). Here are the modifications so far:

CO 36 instead of 30

2.5" cuff

6 stockinette rows before thumb gusset (I originally forgot to put these rows in, but I need them for comfy mittens!)

Increase gusset until 16 st between markers

Adjusted length to fit (duh).

I think I picked up 4 st when picking up for the thumb, then decreased 2 (Told ya this was wonky the first time - it persists in its wonkiness.)

I still have holes at the thumb too. So irritating.


November Goals Update


1. Complete and mail yarn for Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Swap (the one I wasn't going to join any more of). Deadline - Nov 30 Mailed 11/29

2. Grey/blue mittens for Boy1 (blue yarn is dyed) done

3. Finish Jaywalkers - I am so sick of these.

4. Start Jimmy Neutron Sweater - still not started


1. Reorganize fabric stash by weight and color (probably some mental quilt planning here too) - HA HA HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Ok, I did manage to drag everything out and turn my craft corner into an even bigger mess.

2. Finish quilt-in-progress. Deadline: November 10 (working on the final binding tonight) done in time! They loved it!

3. Review pajama needs for Boy2 and proceed accordingly. this is done, but I ended up buying pajamas for him

Thinking about December goals. My first one is to actually post them. ha!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Five Faves

Here's an idea from Celena, via The Hand-Dyed Yarn Swap: List five of your favorite things. Here are five I came up with off the top of my head, in no particular order:

1. My kids
2. Hand-dyeing yarn, especially sock yarn
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (The book, although the old movie with Gregory Peck is good too.)
4. Snow I don't have to drive in
5. Any beach where you can't see land when you look out over the water (oceans, Lake Michigan, etc.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Celena asked about the mitten pattern I used for Boy1's mittens. Honestly, I just kinda cobbled together the sizing from a knit-flat pattern and the method from a knit-round pattern. So I don't have a real pattern, but I did take notes. And right there at the top of my notes, it says "S mittens," so Smittens they are. Here's what I did (with tips to change it for your needs):

Sized for small-to-average 6 year old boy, about 8 inches (20 cm?) long total

worsted-weight wool or wool blend yarn
set of 4 dpns, size 6 (US; will add mm later)
2-3 stitch markers
stitch holder, extra dpn, cable needle, or largeish safety pin

Gauge? Nag me; I'll add it later.

CO 30 (I originally cast on 33, which made mittens big enough for me to wear. Frogged. I used the backward loop or half-hitch cast on - I find it to be very flexible and stretchy. I use it on all my socks too.)

Divide evenly over 3 dpns

Join/don't twist (you may want to mark the start of your round)

K1 row (my own personal bug - trying to rib knit that first row after CO is a pain.)

K1, P1 rib stitch until cuff is about 2 inches long (I did 2-1/2" on the Ironstone pair - a big longish for my taste)

K 4 rows stockinette (One pattern called for 2 stockinette rows, too small. The other called for 6 stockinette rows, too big. 4? Just right.)

Thumb gusset:

K 14, place marker, kfb 2x, place marker (4 st between markers), k 14 to beginning of round

Row A - K all

Row B - K 14, slip marker, kfb, knit remaining stitches until one stitch before marker, kfb, slip marker, K 14. (You are increasing by 2 stitches between the markers every other row to make the thumb gusset.)

Alternate Row A & Row B until 12 stitches between markers.

End thumb gusset, begin palm

K 13, kfb

Slip marker off, slip thumb stitches to holder/spare dpn/whatever, slip 2nd marker off. Ignore these for now.

Continue working off that same needle you just slipped the markers and stitches from, kfb the next stitch after the thumb gusset, working as close as you can to the previous kfb to minimize holes later. Finish working stitches on that needle; you should have 10 on each working needle.

Continue working in the round, ignoring the thumb stitches, until hand measures 5" long from top of cuff (not from cast on).

Begin top shaping:

K1, k2tog all around, 20 stitches on needles (you may have to slip a stitch from one holding needle to the next to work the kfb in the right place)

Next round: K all

K2, (k2tog, k1)* to end of round (I think there is one extra stitch, just knit it)

Next round: K all

K2tog, K1 next round, ending K2tog

K one more plain round if you feel it's necessary.

Cut/break yarn, leaving 8 inch tail. Weave tail through live stitches and draw up to complete mitten top. Weave in tail.


Warning: this is nutsy - I think I did it differently on every mitten!

Basically tho, knit 6 st off your holding needle onto a dpn. Knit next 6 stitches off your holding needle onto a dpn. Pick up stitches between the two ends of the thumb gusset. The amount will depend on how big those holes are where you joined the round after slipping the gusset onto the holder. I picked up 6, which made 18 st on needles, but that was too many, so on the next round, I k2tog across 3rd needle, leaving 3 st on 3rd needle. Then I shuffled stitches around again so I had 15 total, 3 per needle.

K about 3-4 rounds. (Told ya.)

Decrease (somewhat) evenly using 3 decrease rounds with a plain round between each. (See? Wonky.)

Break yarn, leaving decent tail; thread through live stitches and draw together to close end of thumb.

Ok, so maybe I lost 95% of my interest by the time I got to the thumb. Just wanted them done already. And it's a good thing the crease between the thumb and the palm is the warmest area because my Smittens have holes there. Better knitters may have better results!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quilt Madness

Gateway textiles:

Two dinner napkins bought on clearance. They sure look innocent, don't they?

Quickly leads to this:

CAUTION: Fabric stashing in progress.

Ok, I know I take terrible photos. If you thought those were bad, check out this attempt at artistry:

Natural sunlight is no match for complete lack of talent and a really cheap camera.

The result:

The Napkin Quilt

And reverse:

Happy 10th, M&J.

The next quilt:

Baby quilt for a friend. Guess I shoulda unwrapped the remnant piece first, huh?

FOto, er, Tuesday! Nov 13 2007

Finally getting some long-overdue FOtos up.

First off, we have the finished Purple Nubby Sweater:

As you can see, it fuzzed a bit after washing/drying. I hope a good shave will tame its unruly ways. Here is the sweater in action:

Covered in leafs. I'm sure Pip would be jealous.

Sadly, one of our LYS went out of business at the end of October. The shop was tiny and had really inconsistent hours. It seemed to be run more like a hobby than a business; I kinda hope the owner just got tired of it. One of the saddest things to me is when someone fails and can't see why, even though it is blatently obvious to everyone else. Can't keep your yarn shop in business? Try being open!

On the plus side, I got yarn on sale! Remember the Skeen of Green? (Oh, the beloved Skeen of Green!) Well, they didn't have any left, but I bought 3 skeins in a pinky coral. I am not normally a coral fan (ha!), but it sang to me and I had to take it home.

A new discovery for me was Ironstone Colorchanges, made in Italy. It has long, lazy color changes like Noro Kureyon, without all the icky grass stuff. I got one 50g ball in greens with a touch of blue to make mittens for Boy1, and 3 balls of pinky/purple to make a Booga Bag for me. On the way home, I realized the yarn is 50/50 wool/acrylic! No Booga Bag from that - it will not felt. Good thing I bought those 3 balls of Soy Wool Stripes the other day...

So here are the mittens from Ironstone Colorchanges:

Believe it or not, I tried really hard to make those match! The one on the right was made first, and I skipped over the rest of that huge yellow-green section to get back to where the blue started. Then the pattern straightened out, and I got the mitten on the left. Oy. On the other hand, they do match - they are EXACTLY the same size! (Can't tell from the photo tho. Figures.)

Other than the color issues, I really liked knitting with this yarn. I know nothing about spinning, but I think it is spun worsted? It's all one strand, not three or four thinner strands spun together, if that makes sense. It is soft and squishy, a little bit of thickness change but not too much, doesn't break, and, did I mention the lack of grass? No grass. Very nice.

Conventionally-matched mittens:

Paton's Classic Merino color Grey Mix. (Oddly, I did find grass in this ball of Paton's.) The blue is the same grey yarn dyed with Berry Blue Kool-Aid. It came out lighter than I was hoping for, but that's ok. A matching hat is OTN.

Finally, the interloper 4-Berry Trifle Jaywalker:

After slogging on the instep for what seemed like forever, I was finally able to start the toe. Well, of course, I slogged a little too far on the instep, and now it is too long. Needs a bit of frogging. Rats.

Quilt Madness to follow!

Friday, November 9, 2007


Wow, it's been a busy week, and it's gone by so fast! I am so sorry I haven't posted sooner about the drawing. I tried to post last night but Blogger was hatin'. Also sorry for no pictures, but I am just trying to get this posted and end the suspense.

We had 5 people enter the second UFOctober drawing:

Kenyetta completed 4 out of 5 projects and is working on the 5th. Good job, Kenyetta!

Turtle rocked out during October, finishing 6 out of 8 WIPs, making great progress on the other two, and starting 5 of her 12 queue projects. Awesome!

Fiber Chic finished 3 out of 5 projects, finished a fourth on November 2, and began her "exception" project. Way to go!

Unusually Heather at Gentle Sunset admits she only accomplished a little of what she set out for, but she is happy with the progress she did make, and plans to continue to work on these projects.

Knitterary had such a great title for her final UFOctober post - "UFOver" - that I wanted to kidnap it for my very own (but didn't). She met 5 of her 6 goals, calling the last one a draw. Knitterary also managed a hat and almost 9" of sweater for another KAL. Nicely done!

So those were our five official entries. No photos, but the drawing was done the same way as before - names on slips, slips folded, slips in glass, hubby pulled winning slip. And the yarn goes to...

Unusually Heather at Gentle Sunset!
I'll email you tonight for your address. Remember, if you pick Peacock Multi, you just might get it faster! (Because I have some already - hee.)

The whole point of this exercise for me was to figure out exactly what is in there? so I could decide what to do with it. Overall, I am very happy with my own progress, and it's nice not to have all those UFOs hanging over my head.

So here's my final tally:

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - FROGGED 10/6/07

Chevron Lace Socks - FINISHED 10/6/07

Early Nettie - FROGGED 10/1/07

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - FINISHED 10/18/07.

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - no progress other than thinking about how to finish it

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - FINISHED 10/7/07

Purple sweater for Girl - FINISHED 10/31/07

Recycled Navy Sweater - TRASHED 10/19/07

Sky Socks - MAILED 10/4/07

Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - MAILED 10/6/07

The interloper: Jaywalker

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1 - no progress

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes - no progress


A few have asked if I will host UFOctober again next year, and the answer is, barring disaster, DEFINITELY. I hope it's even bigger and better, with more prize drawings and WAY more participants (not that you guys weren't great!). I've already "reserved" a blog name for next year. I plan to allow participants to post to that blog, so everyone can do their own updating. So stay tuned! It's gonna be fun!

November Goals

I feel like I got so much accomplished during UFOctober by having a set plan, that I have set the following crafting goals for November.


1. Complete and mail yarn for Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Swap (the one I wasn't going to join any more of). Deadline - Nov 30

2. Grey/blue mittens for Boy1 (blue yarn is dyed)

3. Finish Jaywalkers

4. Start Jimmy Neutron Sweater


1. Reorganize fabric stash by weight and color (probably some mental quilt planning here too)

2. Finish quilt-in-progress. Deadline: November 10 (working on the final binding tonight)

3. Review pajama needs for Boy2 and proceed accordingly.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy November!

There's an oxymoron for you. November is my least favorite month. Traditionally leafless, sunless, and snowless, November seems the seasonal embodiment of depression.

Not today tho. It's beautifully sunny out, and there are many leaves still hanging on, although the colors have turned decidedly brownish. But Dreary November is coming, I can feel it.

Since it's November, UFOctober is officially done! How did everyone do? I finished the purple sweater last night at 11:45 p.m.; yay for me! That leaves only one of my UFOctober official projects unfinished (and sadly untouched), although I did think about it. I'll give the full tally on Friday.

So it's time for the next drawing! Post a blog entry featuring your final UFOctober progress list. Please list each item and clearly note its status - In Progress, Finished, Trashed, etc. Leave a comment on THIS POST with a link to your entry post. Photos are a total bonus - we want to see your work! - but not required for entry. Your entry post and comment must be finished by midnight (your local time) Sunday, November 4. Winner will be determined by random draw.

Monday is a big work day for me, so I'll probably draw sometime on Tuesday and post by Wednesday.

The winner of the second drawing will receive their choice of two balls of Knit Picks Essential superwash sock yarn in WINNER'S CHOICE of color! AND a $10 Gift Certificate to Knit Picks! (And if you pick Peacock Multi, you *could* get your yarn much sooner; just sayin'.)

(Although Knit Picks is my favorite online yarn store, they are not affiliated with the contest or with UFOctober.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another Swap

Although I had decided not to sign up for any swaps for a while, I got sucked in by the Hand Dyed Yarn Swap. Next month is sock yarn. Sign up deadline is October 31.

They also have a Ravelry group, which is where I found the swap, but you don't have to be on Ravelry to play along.

UFOctober, Day 26 Progress Report

No FOtos this Friday. No FOs to show. (Plus I think I hate my camera. Or it hates me. Or something.)

Feeling a little grumpy today. I may be coming down with something. Either a cold or quiltitis. (Or both).

Oh yes, I have been bitten by the quilting bug. I blame these people:

Cassiana for putting the idea (back) in my head.

Chief Enabler Amy for making it seem so easy. Also cute. Edited to add: If you want to lose an hour, click on the Bend-the-Rules Flickr group and watch the slideshow.

Kay pushed me right over the edge. I definitely plan to use Mary B's Lifetime Guarantee idea - scroll to the end of that linked page to read it.

I may have Cia and Superbuzzy taste on a Joann budget, but I managed to find some good stuff at my local Joann Etc. yesterday.

BTW, if anyone was confused about the next UFOctober drawing, it will be held after UFOctober so we all have a chance to get as much finished as possible.

I have been making good knitting progress despite the latest infection.

*=new progress

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - Frog FROGGED 10/6/07

Chevron Lace Socks - Rip back to heel flap just before turn, & reknit FINISHED 10/6/07

Early Nettie - Frog FROGGED 10/1/07

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - FINISHED 10/18/07.

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - Figure out the sleeve seams or frog

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - Finish second sock FINISHED 10/7/07

* Purple sweater for Girl - In progress - Finished sleeve 1, started sleeve 2.

Recycled Navy Sweater - TRASHED 10/19/07

Sky Socks - Mail MAILED 10/4/07

Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - MAILED 10/6/07

* The interloper:
Jaywalker - just trusted the heel directions as written and it all worked out. Trust the knitting, Luke.

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes

Monday, October 22, 2007

And the Skeen of Green Goes To...

The official entrants of the drawing were:

Best Scissors and Unofficial Marker of UFOctober were hoping for more entrants. Maybe next time.

Kenyetta (knitty kitty)

Unusually Heather (Gentle Sunset)


The name slips all folded and ready to go:

And the Skeen of Green goes to...


Yes, this prize drawing was a random draw, but it should be noted that Turtle has made excellent progress on her UFOs, completing 5 out of 8 UFOs so far this month. She's also working on a few of the 12 projects in her knit queue. Hopefully the Skeen of Green will help out with some of those projects! Congratulations, Turtle!

(and email me - haezoo at yahoo dot com - need your address to ship)

More Prizes

The next prize round was going to be more complex, but I think I'll keep it simple for this year. (Yes, I am already thinking about UFOctober 2008!)

Once UFOctober is officially over, I'll once again call for blog posts featuring your updated UFOctober progress list on your blog. I'll randomly draw another prize winner from those who post an entry and comment on the official post (not posted yet). The entry dates will most likely be November 1-3. (And there may be a twist involving photos, but don't worry about it yet.)

So, who wants sock yarn? (Who DOESN'T??!!)

The winner of the second drawing will receive their choice of two balls of Knit Picks Essential superwash sock yarn in WINNER'S CHOICE of color!

Not enough?

AND a $10 Gift Certificate to Knit Picks!

Yes, we all know Knit Picks is my favorite online yarn store. (They are not affiliated with the contest or with UFOctober, however.) No, I am not offering this prize just so I have an excuse to place an order there. Ok, maybe. But who cares? FREE YARN!

Friday, October 19, 2007

I WON! (kinda)

Famous Knitting Authors Ann & Kay ran a contest to win a raffle ticket to win this. There's an upclose photo on the Mason-Dixon Knitting site; the afghan is stunning. Go take a look. I'll wait.

Ann & Kay gave away one raffle ticket each to 10 commenters who wrote "a haiku, limerick or heroic couplet about the color blue, Cristina's afghan, or stinky indigo dye vats." 65 people entered, and I was one of the lucky 10 who won by random draw.

Here's my entry, and you'll see why I did not win by skill...

Roses are blue
Violets are blue
Blue is my favorite
And so is blue


If you'd like a chance to win this thing of indigo beauty, click here.

UFOctober Report, Day 19 (and FOto Friday)

It's amazing what a good night of sitting on your butt ignoring the laundry quality TV can do for your knitting. Last night was a very good night. Here's my tally thus far.

*=new progress

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - Frog Frogged 10/6/07 (1:30 a.m.)

Chevron Lace Socks - Rip back to heel flap just before turn, & reknit Finished 10/6/07 (1:00 a.m.)

Early Nettie - Frog Frogged 10/1/07

* Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - A second washing and blocking satisfied me that all the wayward dye was rinsed from the sweater. There's still some bad dye running, but - aha! - the HCBK is knit in garter stitch, which makes it kinda reversible. Reversible enough, in fact, that reverse it is exactly what I did. So the worst dye bleeding is inside, and the rest of anything remotely noticeable is on the back. Problem solved! FINISHED 10/18/07.

Behold the heartbreaking cuteness:

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - Figure out the sleeve seams or frog No progress yet, but feeling better after the success of the HCBK1.

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - Finish second sock FINISHED! 10/7/07

* Purple sweater for Girl - In progress - sewed up one side seam, picked up stitches at armhole to knit sleeve in the round. I am NEVER knitting another sweater in pieces again!

My Bad Photo:

(That's not a dye lot mistake. The color varies throughout the skein. See below.)

Presumably professional photo of the sweater from the Lion Brand site; not our family:

Yep, that's acrylic, people. Bought lots of it before I knew better, but it's soft and warm and, hello, machine washable. I'm using it. Click here for the pattern. I'm leaving off the hood, doing a roll-neck collar instead. And, as mentioned, knitting the sleeves in the round from the shoulder down.

* Recycled Navy Sweater - see below.

Recycled Navy Sweater before

Recycled Navy Sweater after

Why is this sweater in the trash? This sweater began life as an exercise in anger management. The yarn came from a 25-cent yard sale sweater. I frogged it during a particularly rough patch in my marriage, when ripping a sweater apart seemed to be the only viable outlet for the stress, anger, and frustration I felt. (Things are better lately, thanks for asking.) As you might expect, the yarn was roughly frogged, not rinsed before rewinding, and full of knots. Badly done all around. The color was SO DARK (the flash really lightened it up immensely), it was depressing. Somehow, a junior's size small sweater did not give me enough yarn to knit a little girl's cardigan. Go figure. Considering the anger, the depressing color, the yarn shortage, and the fact that I started knitting it in pieces before I knew about knitting in the round, it makes sense to me just to toss it. Good riddance. Trashed 10/19/07.

Sky Socks - Mail Mailed 10/4/07

Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - Mailed 10/6/07

* The interloper:
Jaywalker may be slightly stalled at the heel. The instructions are not making sense to me. Is it a short-row heel? Anyone know? If I can't figure it out, I'll probably just do a flap heel and hope for the best.

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes

So, that's my report for now. By the way, Knitting Daily has been running a few posts recently about UFOs. They also ran a poll that shows the average number of UFOs per knitter is 7. The knitters with more than 20 UFOs easily outnumbered those with zero, by 3-to-1, in fact. Yow. That's a lotta UFOs.

If you don't read Knitting Daily, follow that link and sign up to receive it by email. It's from Interweave Press, therefore, very entertaining and informative, even if it isn't quite daily. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Prize Drawing! UFOtoberers, Start Your Blogs

So we're about halfway through UFOctober; time for a prize drawing!!

If you are an offical participant in UFOctober (see sidebar), blog about your progess between now and midnight (your local time) Sunday, 10/21/07.

1. Blog entry must include your official list of UFOctober projects with progress notes by each item. You can do it like this one if you want. (To use the "cross-out" feature, use these tags = < del > and < /del >, no spaces.) We just need to see how much progress you are making. Or not making. It doesn't matter for this drawing (although it might later, so get going!).

2. Leave a comment ON THIS POST linking to your entry posting.

3. Drawing will be held on Monday, 10/22/07.

All UFOctober participants who do so will be entered to win the Skeen of Green:

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool. Super-soft, 100% wool in "Seebreeze" (lighter than photo, sorry).

Breaks my heart, it does. And the LYS that sells it is closing at the end of the month. Sniff.

Also on Monday - More prize announcements!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

O Progress, Where Art Thou?

Forgive me, knitters, for I have slipped.

I have cast on a new project that is not on my UFOctober exceptions list.


Once I knit the entire first cuff, I realized I was fooling myself - this was no swatch. (You all knew that already, didn't you?) It is, in fact, a Jaywalker, using the second batch of sock yarn I Kool-Aid dyed in case the Autumn Leaves/Great Pumpkin didn't work out. I can't decide if I like the colors or not, but it's dyed and it's knitted, so it's NOT getting frogged. I'm calling it the Four-Berry Trifle Jaywalker Sock. (FOtos on Friday, peeps!)

So, how is everyone's UFOctober going? Here in McFrogland, Decisions Have Been Made. Projects Shall Be Tossed. One of my UFOs is so disheartening that I am not even wasting time frogging it. More on that later. But mostly, if it weren't for mental progress, there wouldn't be any progress at all. bleh.

Let's see how our other players are doing, shall we?

Gentle Sunset is making good progress, reporting one complete, one almost complete, and one frogging.

Fiber Chic has completed another Super Secret UFO and is working on one of her exceptions.

Wanna see a beautiful Mystery Stole? Click on over to Amanda's blog; she is making great progress!

Knitterary is finally able to show off her Super Secret Project - go check out the cuteness. And let us have a moment of silence for that beautiful Jaywalker. In its passing, it has given me the peace to toss out my own (aforementioned) disheartening project. ***moment of silence***

Go give Knitty Kitty a big round of applause - she is getting lots done!

Go see KP's sock and share the love.

Turtle was making good progress, but she hasn't posted since the 7th. (Hmm, I wonder if she is hiding something like I was.)

I hope to have some real progress to show by Friday!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UFOctober Day 10 Report

Well, nothing really new to report. The beginning of the week is usually crazy busy for me, so I don't get much knitting done. But I'm home all day tomorrow, and if I can resist "swatching" the ball o' mess (I frogged the non-toe), maybe I can get some sweater progress going.

But I had to stop in and share this recent comic from HOBOTOPIA, which I thought was great for UFOctober!

(If you don't get it, click here.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Well, I finished my latest yarn-dyeing adventure: a self-striping mess in pink, purple, red, and two shades of blue. Yeah, baby. Bringin' sexy back to the yarn.

Now, I know, people, that a new pair of socks is not on my UFOctober Official Exceptions List, so let's just say I have been thinking about patterns.

And maybe doing some swatching.

Just a little swatching.

(Certainly not the start of a toe or anything. Nuh-uh. Not me. And the "swatch," big ball o' mess, and 5 size 1 dpns aren't currently living in my purse. No siree.)

Anyway, I've seen some really good-looking self-striping Jaywalkers around. Since I am the Last Knitter In The Blogosphere To Attempt Jaywalkers, I wandered over to MagKnits to find the pattern. And kicked myself.

See, when the new Knitty comes out, I immediately rush on over and drool over everything (explains my keyboard problems). But Knitty only comes out quarterly, and I'm usually getting pretty antsy for the new issue weeks before it is due out.

Magknits, on the other hand, is monthly! Sure they usually only have 5-6 patterns, but they are free! And MONTHLY. Like, 5-6 new free patterns every month! Amazing.

I'll be making sure to check Magknits every month from now on. Look what I found for October:

Beautiful. I wants one. (But not in self-striping ball o' mess.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

UFOctober: Updated Participants List & Progress Report Day 7

Two new knitters joined under the wire on Saturday night - woo hoo!

Fiber Chic already has a FO to show, and a super-secret project that is almost done!

Heather at Gentle Sunset lists 6 projects to finish, plus one exception.

See the UFOctober sidebar at the right for the complete official list!

Day 7 Report *=new progress
Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - Frog Frogged 10/6/07 (1:30 a.m.)

Chevron Lace Socks - Rip back to heel flap just before turn, & reknit Finished 10/6/07 (1:00 a.m.)

Early Nettie - Frog Frogged 10/1/07

*Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - Gently wash and hope it can be salvaged, perhaps with some clever embroidery. If not salvageable, frog - Washed & reblocked, results unclear

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - Figure out the sleeve seams or frog

*Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - Finish second sock FINISHED! 10/7/07

*Purple sweater for Girl - Figure out where I am in the pattern and finish (In progress - shoulders joined; deciding how I want to do the sleeves/side seams)

Recycled Navy Sweater - Finish as vest (compromise solution, plus I am running out of yarn).

Sky Socks - Mail Mailed 10/4/07

*Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - Finish and mail. Dried and packed 10/6/07; will be mailed 10/8/07 Mailed 10/6/07 since we were driving by the post office anyway.

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes

Saturday, October 6, 2007

UFOctober - Day 6 Update

Still not too late to sign up! Sign up by tonight - there will be prizes!!

My Projects:

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - Frog Frogged 10/6/07 (1:30 a.m.)

Chevron Lace Socks - Rip back to heel flap just before turn, & reknit Finished 10/6/07 (1:00 a.m.)

Early Nettie - Frog Frogged 10/1/07

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - Gently wash and hope it can be salvaged, perhaps with some clever embroidery. If not salvageable, frog

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - Figure out the sleeve seams or frog

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - Finish second sock (In progress)

Purple sweater for Girl - Figure out where I am in the pattern and finish

Recycled Navy Sweater - Finish as vest (compromise solution, plus I am running out of yarn).

Sky Socks - Mail Mailed 10/4/07

Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - Finish and mail Dried and packed 10/6/07; will be mailed 10/8/07

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes

Friday, October 5, 2007

FOto Friday - October 5, 2007

Undeserved Yarn, or, My Sock-Bot Loot:

Dyed by Debbi with acid dyes on Knit Picks base. She calls this color Sweet Tart - very appropriate! Looks like it will make some fun Monkeys if I ever attempt a pair. Seeing her neat little yarn cake makes me want a yarn winder soooooo baaaaaad. She sent along some awesome purple stitch markers by Mary! This photo is really dark, I'm sorry!

Seeing Debbi's pretty yarn and after wrestling with the kool-aid Every Single Time makes me think I need to step up to real acid dyes if I want to take this yarn dyeing thing seriously.

And did you know that many (if not all) fiber "acid" dyes are citric-acid based? So is Kool-Aid! I was thinking of something far more sinister, probably since a nasty dustup between myself and some sulphuric acid once resulted in a late-night trip to urgent care. Anyway, speaking of wrestling with Kool-Aid...

The Project Previously Knows As The Great Pumpkin, Now With More Autumn Leaves Effect!:

Overdyed in TONS of lemonade Kool-Aid (pale stuff, that), then spotted with Cherry. It looks good, so I'm sending it on to the very patient Robyn once it's dry (one photo with flash, one without):

If I tried this color effect again, I would dye it with four packs of lemonade FIRST, then hand-painted it in orange, red and maybe a touch of green. The contrast of the red and green in early autumn leaves is one of my favorite parts of autumn, yet I forgot all about it.

This also qualifies as a finished project for UFOctober, woohoo!

More UFOctober Progress:

Early Nettie Before:

Early Nettie After:

Sky Socks Before:

Sky Socks After:

In other progress: I've turned the heel on the 2nd Lily Pad sock. I'm enjoying this yarn again, so this seems to be my main project right now.

If you want to participate, leave me a note in the comments by Saturday night. (I was going to have everyone leave a comment on the original post, but that seems silly to me now, so just leave one here.) If you have already signed up, check the UFOctober 2007 link list to the right and make sure your name/blog appears there.

And don't forget to grab a button! (Please save to your own account, thx.)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

UFOctober: Day 4 Progress Report

My Projects:

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - Frog

Chevron Lace Socks - Rip back to heel flap just before turn, & reknit

Early Nettie - Frog Frogged 10/1/07

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - Gently wash and hope it can be salvaged, perhaps with some clever embroidery. If not salvageable, frog

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - Figure out the sleeve seams or frog

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - Finish second sock (In progress)

Purple sweater for Girl - Figure out where I am in the pattern and finish

Recycled Navy Sweater - Finish as vest (compromise solution, plus I was running out of yarn).

Sky Socks - Mail Mailed 10/4/07

Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - Finish and mail (Finished dyeing; will mail when dry)

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes

We Has A Button!

Kit Kat Knit is joining UFOctober and has made us a super-cool button! While I argue with flickr and Blogger about button placement Until I can get it linked up here properly, please hit the above link and snag a button for your own selves (save to your own account per blogiquette, thx).

Edited, after almost no argument after all. Here's the button!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

UFOctober: The 4 Ps

We have People!

Michaele of The Knitty Professor beat the rush and worked on projects the last week of September.

Knitterary has 6 UFOs to conquer, plus her Starmore KAL and a Clapotis! Yowser. She says she'll be ecstatic if she gets 4 of her UFOs off her back.

Knitty Kitty has 5 UFOs and 2 exceptions.

Turtle set some UFO-busting goals for October, so we'll count her in! She listed 7 UFOs and 11 "waiting to start" and already has knocked off 2 of the UFOs!

Elspeth has a lot of blogs said she would join in, can't wait to see what she'll be working on!

Remember, you have through October 6 to sign up here (leave a comment with a link to your blog).

We have Prizes!

Skein of Green (skein of grein? skeen of green?)

This nummy worsted weight is Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Michigan. It is the softest 100% wool yarn I have ever felt, almost as soft as baby alpaca. The color is a beautiful heathered deep sea green (lighter than it's showing up here) called "Seebreeze."

Mystery Sock Yarn
It may be hand-dyed or it may be some of my ever-growing Knit Picks stash. We'll see. (I guess you could say that deciding this prize is another UFO.)

Prizes will be awarded by random draw. If this is fun, if we do it again next year, maybe we'll have specific categories - most finished projects, most daunting, etc.

We have Projects!

Holy Unidentified Objects, Batman! Every time I dig through my stash, I find more UFOs! Here are two more alien projects I found:

Nettie 1 - forgot all about this early attempt at a net market bag; see below.
Sky Socks - finished back in, what, June? Just need to be mailed, for pete's sake!

We have Progress!

This was an easy one. I stumbled across the nascent Nettie while reviewing the Recycled Navy Cardi. FROGGGED!! Photos to come!

Friday, September 28, 2007

FOto Friday - September 28, 2007

Wow, a week sure goes by fast! What? It's been two three weeks since I did a FOto Friday? Yipe. Sorry!

This is, at long last, the Vine Lace Scarf I hope to teach at the LYS next month:

Ok, that's a terrible picture. I'll get a better one, uh... someday. The scarf is done in one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Very simple pattern: 3 repeats of Vine Lace pattern with a 3-stitch stockinette border on each side. The border rolls a bit by design.

Here's a little sewing project that's been burning in my brain for way too long:

Produce bags! Get the whole story over at Make A Bag.

One ball Noro Kureyon + one basic knit-flat mitten pattern - tops of fingers and thumb + top ribbing =
Fingerless Noro Mitts. These knit up super-fast! Probably four hours, total. I used the mitten pattern from Instant Expert Knitting. (Support your local book store, or at least Borders, which is Michigan-owned!)

Oh those aren't unwoven-in ends. Those are a design feature. Yep.

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I'm doing a hand-dyed sock yarn swap through Swap-Bot. My swap partner (I dye for her; someone else dyes for me, presumably) said at one point she likes the colors of autumn leaves, so that is what I was going for.

Yes, really. (Stop laughing.)

Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of orange Kool-Aid in homemade dyeing projects. Good grief!

Oh, yeah. The mailing deadline is tomorrow. Do you think Robyn would prefer ugly yarn or late yarn? sigh

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dis Comix Is Full of Fun

This is "Laugh Out Loud Cats #278" drawn by Apelad at Hobotopia. Apelad claims to be the sole living decendent of Aloysius "Gorilla" Koford, who drew the strip for 17 newspapers during 1912-1913.

You may see note a *slight* resemblence between the captions of these comics and the cats of "I Can Has Cheezburger?" Coincidence? You decide.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

UFOctober: Close Encounters of the Knitted Kind

Seen any UFOs lately? You know, those UnFinished Objects that have been hovering around your stash for far too long? Maybe you've even seen an alien or two - projects from so long ago you don't recognize them at first.

Let's get together and see if we can knock out a few of those UFOs during UFOctober! Write up a blog post of your list of UFOs to work on. Then leave me a note in the comments for THIS POST by October 6. I'll post a list of all the UFOctobers so we can visit each other and cheer each other on.

Rules? While I am restricting my self to only UFOs during October until they are done (with two exceptions, see below), just commit to at least working on some of those long-abandoned UFOs, and post about your progress once in a while.

Incentives, you say? PRIZES? Well, sure, why not. I'll think of something (and maybe some of you will contribute?)

Oh, and if any of the super-clever wish to make a button, well, the more buttons, the merrier, I say!

So here's my Close Encounters of the Knitted Kind:

Chevron Lace Socks - When I did the heel and gusset on the second sock, I followed the pattern as written. Apparently, I did not do this when I made the first sock, and I much prefer the first heel. The Plan: rip & reknit. (Not this one, this is the good one!)

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - Started the cuff for sock #2, then stalled. The Plan: finish already.

Purple sweater for Girl - this is so old, I didn't even put it on my WIP list until now. It's going to be tough figuring out where I left off, but it's a simple pattern, and I know a lot more now, so it might not be that bad. I think the front and back are done. The pattern calls for a hood, but I think I'll just make a simple collar. I just hope it still fits her. The Plan: find the pattern, figure out where the heck I am, and knit.

Recycled Navy Sweater - another one for Girl. Simple V-neck cardi based on Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. However, I love the look of wrap-front, ballet-style sweaters, and all the hassle of the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono did not diminish my love of the wrap-front sweater one bit. The Plan: Unclear. Continue as planned, or rip and renew as wrap-front vest?

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - The Cascade Fixation is driving me nuts. The Plan: Frog when I get up the nerve.

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 & 2 - The yarn ran on #1. The Plan: gently wash and hope it can be salvaged, perhaps with some clever embroidery. If not salvageable, frog.

The sleeve seams are giving me fits on #2. The Plan: Figure it out or frog it.

The Exceptions:

The Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1 - I have blahhhhhhhged about this ad nauseum, the design is in my head, it really needs to get done, so we will call it "started," therefore, unfinished and qualifying for UFOctober! (Rationalization is a beautiful thing.)

I am allowed ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes. They knit up fast, and once I start thinking about color combos, I can't stop until I knit it. So I get to do one (and I hope that's enough).

When Sarcasm is Not Enough...

I'm sorry, but I had to laugh. It seems a few of you took my Saturday post literally. What I meant was, it was a really rough day. The kind of day that will drive you to drink, if not alcohol, then chocolate syrup straight from the bottle.

Things are better now, but - hoo boy - has something got to give.

On an unrelated knitting note: I'm thinking of designating October as "UFOctober" or "UnFinished October" and make a goal to finish, work on, or even frog all my UFOs. Who's with me?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Really, Really Good Day

You ever have the kind of day where every little thing makes you want to knock back shots of chocolate syrup straight from the bottle?

Good times.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Get Your Knit On For A Good Cause - Red Scarf Project

The Orphan Foundation of America sends encouragement and care packages to foster kids heading off to college. In 2005, they started adding red scarves to the care packages. Well, you KNOW this caught on in the yarn-loving community. The first year, knitters and crocheters donated 3500 scarves. The next year, 15,000 scarves.

This year, the Red Scarf Project is running a little earlier. Now, in fact. So, if you'd like to donate to this cause, here are some guidlines:

1. Scarves should be about 60 inches (152 cm) long by 5-8 inches (13-20 cm) wide.

2. Scarves should be unisex - no lace. Boys are college-bound foster kids too! (The NEW fall Knitty has a great manly scarf pattern.)

3. Yarn - No laceweight, super-chunky, or mohair yarns.

4. Color - any shade of red, although other gender-neutral colors are welcome.

5. Deadline - get your scarves in by October 15.

6. Cash donations are always welcome, as OFA covers all packing and shipping costs for the care packages.

7. Get this - they actually had to limit how many scarves you can send in! Limit is 5 scarves per individual or organization.

For more information, where to send the scarves, and how to donate, see the Red Scarf Project site. They have lots of pattern links and more ways you can help OFA.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Putting the "Blah" In Blog

Totally leapfrogging off of Wendy's post from Monday, I am trying to get back into the swing of posting regularly. Turns out that, with 2 out of 3 kids in school, I somehow have less time to post. Go figure.

So, as stated, there has been some Ball Band Madness:

Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream in Hot Purple and Soft Teal

This purple and green number is a gift for my sis-in-law, who has zero appreciation for knitting. We shall convert her yet! (My 11-year-old niece knits, so I am hoping that having an in-house knitter will help sway SIL.)

Oh, I made one change from the original pattern for this one - I cast on 47 stitches instead of 45. So the first "block" you knit 5, slip 1, k5, s1, etc, ending k5. The next "block" you k2, s1, *k5, s1* rpt to end, k2. I like how this works because when I follow the pattern, that second "block" doesn't seem as well-defined to me. Your mileage may vary.

Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream in Rosewood and Soft Teal

The pink/green/brown is a gift for mom-in-law, who delicately requested I knit her one. Actually, she saw me knitting the brown & aqua striped one and said, "So when are you going to make me one?" Um, nicely put. (Followed pattern as written.)

NETTIE!! Yes, Nettie II is done! She has been tested and found fit for use, making the rounds at the local farmer's market last Saturday. I was on a yes-tomatoes-no-plastic-bag-please quest and fully succeeded. Nettie even received a compliment from the local raw honey vendor. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of Nettie chock full o' tomatoey goodness, but regular readers of this blog know they should be happy with the crappy photo I did take. (heh, sorry guys) And who knows, maybe I'll actually get around to posting the long-promised pattern. (Or have I posted it already? Click to find out!)

There may be one more ball-band washrag in my near future, a little experimental number with some self-striping yarn. I'll let ya know. The yarn may have already been purchased. But I'm not tellin'.